Students, staff and faculty at Simmons College of Kentucky have spent the past week celebrating homecoming.
Officials say it’s the biggest homecoming celebration since Simmons received accreditation and recognition as a historically Black college. The festivities have included a fashion show, a meet and greet with Student Government Association (SGA) members and breakfast with Simmons’ president Kevin Cosby.
The week will culminate on Saturday with a series of events that includes a step show and concert.
“A homecoming is an opportunity to rally the institution, to bring people around the college and celebrate its continued success,” said Frank Smith, Simmons’ senior vice president and chief operating officer.
Smith said the celebration is especially important at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) like Simmons.
“Historically Black colleges and universities in America have seen some challenges, and every year, in many cases, is a victory of survival,” Smith said.
Many HBCUs have been historically under-resourced compared to other colleges and universities. Smith said this struggle creates a family-like community on HBCU campuses between students, alumni and staff.
For current students, homecoming week has offered an opportunity to think about their school’s significance as a historically Black college in Louisville.
“It is a time for us as students to connect even more so with the legacy of our school and to celebrate that legacy and rich history,” SGA president Alex Campbell said.
Campbell said the response from students about homecoming week has been positive, and that the events have helped students feel connected to the campus community.
“That is what really matters, that students feel engaged. They feel involved and, ultimately, they have a sense of belonging,” Campbell said.
Beyond connecting with one another, students are able to use homecoming week as a way to meet and network with alumni.
Smith said homecoming week also provides alumni a chance to see how the campus has grown since they attended.
“We want to offer an occasion for them to come back and to be a part of seeing where the college is now and share in the dreams of what is to come,” Smith said.
Some of Simmons’ homecoming events, like Saturday’s step show, are open to the public. Organizers see it as a way to show off the college to the community.
By inviting the public, they hope to further the connection between Simmons and Louisvillians.
“Everyone is invited, everyone is welcome, because the key to Simmons is to be there for the community,” Campbell said. “The community is always welcome because the more we connect with the community, the more we can fulfill our mission of being agents of change.”
Simmons’ homecoming step show starts at 6 p.m. Saturday at Louisville Memorial Auditorium.